Life, Liberty, & Happiness

Advice for MBA Students


housands of new MBA students are a few weeks into their 1st year of classes, and thousands more are beginning the B-school application process.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some insights I picked up through Bloomberg Businessweek when they asked graduates to reflect on their own MBA experiences and to share snippets of advice with new students and applicants.

The question:

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you were first starting your MBA program?”

  • Start networking immediately!
  • Tailor your story.
  • Have good answers when they ask you why you came back to bschool, what have you done professionally so far, etc.
  • Focus more on your passion. Following your passion and applying it to your community = happiness.
  • Network with a group of different people with different skills and start something!
  • Smile, be nice, be open – you never know who will be your next business partner, mentor, or best friend!
  • Don’t do what others think you should do, or what everyone else is doing. Decide what you want and hustle to get it.
  • Don’t come in thinking you will figure it out here. Think hard and strong about what you want out of it before you get here.
  • Unless you are ready to face the real world by all its means and facts, and unless you are ready to begin the journey of “Change” in all the aspects of your life, then you better look for something else to do.
  • Realize that a MBA provides you with a great, technical foundation to build success upon, but not THE key to success.
  • Be prepared to learn just as much, if not more, after graduation and upon beginning your career.
  • Develop other skills. No employer wants to know that you completed an MBA program.
  • It’s more of an enhancement than a starting point.

About Dr. Michael Burcham

Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.

“I built and sold a $40M company with Dr. Burcham as my mentor. This is the thing: if you EVER get the opportunity to learn from this man, from that moment forward, you’ll list him as one of the most influential people in your life, even if you live to be 90. And, you’ll know how lucky you were to have that opportunity and you’ll immediately say YES to any chance to be in his presence again—his wisdom is that impactful.”

Sherry Stewart Deutschmann

Former CEO, Letter Logic

“If you are looking for a trusted mentor and coach for yourself or your leadership team, I highly recommend Michael Burcham. He has worked with me as my executive coach for well over a decade now. Our conversations and his feedback have helped me sharpen my critical thinking skills. He’s a trusted advisor that I can confidentially speak with about any issue—and I know I’ll get valued feedback. I highly recommend him.”

Ryan McGrath

CEO, Asset Living

“Dr. Burcham’s depth and breadth of experience makes even the most ADD entrepreneurial leader sit up and take notes! His coaching skills bring out the ‘best you’ possible. He selflessly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly—leaving you with an authentic and moving experience sure to spur action and professional growth!”

Julie Lenzer

Director, U.S. Department of Commerce


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